By Sabrina Sivert
HERNANDO SUN WRITER
Many people dream of performing on Broadway, but for Teddy Toye, from Spring Hill, this dream is a reality.
When Teddy was 18 months old, he sang at the Strawberry Festival where he shocked the audience singing “Minnie the Moocher” an old Cab Calloway song and “Great Balls of Fire,” by Jerry Lee Lewis, without missing a word or beat. At two years old Teddy stepped on stage with his father Eddie Toye, a musician, and he quickly fell in love with the musical world.
When Teddy reached first grade, his parents took him and his younger sister Amber to Springstead High School to audition for the production “Wizard of Oz.” They needed young kids to play the roles of munchkins. He got a role playing a Lollipop Guild munchkin. This was his very first exposure to the world of theatre and acting.
Teddy attended Nature Coast High School where he was very involved in their theatre program. He also performed at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre from fifth grade through high school, performing in about eight shows.
Teddy hails from a family of performers. Eddie Toye, his father, has been in a band almost all of Teddy’s life. Teddy grew up around the band and later on joined as a drummer in high school. Teddy’s mom, Gina Toye, isn’t necessarily a performer but she took on the role of helping backstage in every production that he and his sister Amber were involved in growing up. She also drove them to the dance studio, and worked the front desk at the studio. “She may not be a performer but has always been super involved in everything we did,” Teddy said. “Mom is the backbone to everyone in the family,” Eddie remarked about his wife.
Teddy’s family attends almost every one of his performances. “They are really supportive and I know they are really proud of me,” Teddy said.
“He has followed his dreams his entire life. We’re just beaming with pride,” said Gina Toye. Teddy and Amber have both been there for one another, cheering the other on and being each other’s biggest fans. “If they’re happy, then we’re happy,” Gina added.
After high school Teddy moved to New York and went to school at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy. “I ended up leaving school early because I booked a six month tour of a children’s theatre show and toured the country before coming back and finishing school,” Teddy said.
After he graduated he toured with the production of High School Musical where he played the role of Ripper. He has had many theatre jobs and dancing gigs like taking part in Cher Lloyd’s performance on “America’s Got Talent.”
It took him many auditions before he started performing on Broadway and his first Broadway show, “Lysistrata Jones,” started out in a church basement. They were performing for about 100 people a night. After the New York Times released a positive review of the off-Broadway “Lysistrata Jones,” it became an official Broadway show. Teddy played the character Harold in “Lysistrata Jones.” He has also performed in “Bring it On.” His most recent show is “Prom.” Prom opened on Broadway November 15, 2018 and will close August 11, 2019.
“I’m 30 but still playing a high school jock on stage,” said Teddy. Prom has been in production since 2015 when they presented it to producers and investors. It was then shown at the Alliance Theatre a year later. “I’ve been very fortunate to have been kept as a part of this show for so long,” Teddy said.
“Performing on stage is such an adrenaline rush, it’s my happy place. I love being part of shows that really impact people’s lives like Prom does,” said Teddy. He has played many roles but so far his favorite role has been in the production “Prom” or as Harold in “Lysistrata Jones.” About his roles for both productions, Teddy commented, “I had a say in how the part was shaped and they’re both a lot of fun to play.”
He also recently appeared on the Tony Awards where 6,000 seats are filled with stars in theatre and film. “It was pretty incredible, an absolute bucket list item for me,” Teddy reflected. The cast of “Prom” was included in the opening number this year. “I can’t really say which show is best, but being in one that ends up on the Tony’s, that’s pretty special,” Gina said. Prom was nominated for seven Tony awards.
The amount of shows Teddy has performed in is countless, but he has been a part of about 20 big productions, either regionally, touring, or on Broadway.
During his free time you can find him out on the golf course, going to concerts, creating music, choreographing dances with his friends, playing sports or at the gym.
“Never forget dreams can come true,” Teddy said.